A fun creative writing blog that helps authors by providing amazing writing tips.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Abandoning Your Story Like A Sick Stepchild

I have written many different stories. I have written so many that I dare not write their names in this blog since I do not want to take up the whole page with story titles. Despite this fact I have only published three of them and only one is still in the market as you read this.

Why? Because I made the pain staking decision that many of my stories were either too bad or not ready to get out in the market. I know it is hard to abandon your stories since our stories are like our children, but sometimes it just has to be done.

When I first started writing I thought a writer had to finish their story. But when you think of all the books you read, hopefully you are reading a lot of books, some of those books you don’t finish. It isn’t because you were lazy. It was because the book lost your interest for various reasons. Well, I am here to tell you that the same thing happens when I write. Sometimes I lose interest in what I am writing and it isn’t because I become lazy!

Sometimes a story just isn’t meant to be published or sometimes it just needs more work. The point I am making here is that you don’t need to force a story if you feel that it isn’t right. Trust me, even though it may feel that there is a limit to your creativity that just isn’t true. The important thing is to just keep writing.


  1. Like a struggling relationship sometimes all that's needed to fix a troubled story is time away.

  2. Or time with other people... I mean stories.

  3. Well said, to all of it. This is something I think we can all get something out of. It's not a sin to not finish what we started...it's much worse to not have the perspective to know a story just isn't working, and move on to something else.

  4. Do keep writing. You have a gift to go where most of us can't.

  5. I've found myself that trying to forge on to an ending works sometimes too, though. The secret (for me) is to consider it still "unfinished," let it alone for a week or so, then come back and (a) look at it with fresh eyes, and (b) rewrite as needed (sometimes completely). Of course (c) then abandon it anyway is an option too, but at least one story I kept with even though I feared it wasn't working, then saw wasn't so bad when I reread it later, ended up selling to Alfred Hitcocjck's Mystery Magazine.

  6. I agree that there are times where you must simply abandon what is not working. A cursory glance at the resume of Orson Welles is testament of that - or the Cahiers of Albert Camus even! I find that if I tell too many people about a project I am working on - then I no longer have the psychic need to publish it. Or even finish it. The story has been told. I have stacks of bankers boxes filled with stories, articles, ideas, sketches, early drafts of works that either were unsaleable, I abandoned, or were drafts of work that later was finished in a different form. I sometimes pull things out of there and breathe deep recollecting the promise the idea once held for me. SOme of those projects come back out to live again. Those are the fun ones - but I find I have to rewrite from page one to have a new consistent voice. I'm not the same person I was twenty years ago - nor even five!